Karyn and I ran the Tobacco Road Half Marathon yesterday. My time was 3:20:53 which was about 22 min slower than the City of Oaks Half Marathon last November. But you know what? I didn’t and don’t even care because there is no way I should have been able to run that half. Yes, walkers passed me. Yes, when Karyn met me at mile 12 to make sure I finished, she walked as I “ran.” But I finished it, and celebrated by glutening myself with 2 slices of Papa John’s pizza. Karyn might have heard moaning that shouldn’t have been heard. lol And this is as much of a race recap as I care to do. Oh, and I am sore as heck today because I did not properly train. Not that I didn’t have a training plan. I just missed a LOT of training runs.
I have started, and deleted this post about 3 times now. It’s gone from snarky to whiny to incoherent. As I sit here trying for the 4th time to get this written, this version may be snarky AND whiny AND incoherent. See, there are events and conversations behind it that would give it the necessary context, but I don’t want to blog about those. But there was one conversation that has kind of served as a catalyst for wanting to write about this because something was said that kind of shook me up and made me think.
At one point I said essentially that doctrinally I am still a baptist. Then later as I thought on it I thought “But culturally, I don’t think I am.” This brought up the realization that I have been a baptist my whole life – 12 years longer than I’ve been a believer. So naturally, me being me, I “have” to question whether I have picked baptist churches as an adult because I am altogether baptist or if it’s because that’s all I know. I mean, seriously, up until the past month, aside from a handful of base chapel services when I was active duty, the only non-baptist church I had ever attended was a Catholic church with my best friend in high school for a few months.
There are some things that I am sure of.
1. I don’t want my “Christian experience” to consist of just church attendance. That’s performance. I did that for my entire childhood as a deacon’s kid. I don’t want to just play the part at church services and functions. Like I said, been there done that.
2. I don’t want to go through the motions and not get out of my comfort zone. Kind of like #1, only I want to perform in a way that brings glory to God and not attention to me. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
3. I want to reach out to the lost, particularly the unchurched. You know, the ones who don’t know how to “perform” as a “good Christian” is supposed to. Rough, crude, and unpolished. The ones that folks who grew up in church and never openly rebelled/strayed don’t know how to relate to.
4. I don’t want to “get our country back to God” by means of political activism under the banner of the church. We cannot ever change a culture of any kind through politics. No law ever changed a person’s heart. Plus, the USA has never been nor will ever be the new Israel which is to say we, as a country, are NOT God’s chosen people.
So far, this seems to be kind of a ramble, but whatever. That’s what happens when I don’t fully contextualize. Where I am right now is with my family looking for a new home church. Let me tell you, when you leave a church where you love each and every person there, it is like breaking up. It’s not pleasant. It hurts. It hurts you, and it hurts them. But sometimes you have to move on for the sake of the whole family, and when your kids don’t want to go anymore, and you reach the point that it is nearly impossible to force them, it’s time to move on. Hence the dilemma. Do I continue to press for a baptist church out of tradition? And I have come to the conclusion that what I want is a church faithful to scripture, zealous for evangelism and discipleship, as focused on children and youth ministries as adult, and not afraid to open up in worship and in life (meaning, you can’t be open if you “bite and devour” aka gossip and backbite).
I think I managed to hit snarky, whiny, and incoherent. Therefore, since I have labored over this post for well over a week, I leave you with a little “Flyman.”
I am going to state up front, that Pastor Roger preached a sermon about this earlier this year, so it isn’t something I came up with on my own. On the other hand, it isn’t straight-up plagiarism either. I hope.
I have heard it said many times that “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” The thing is, I haven’t found that in the Bible. There is this:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)
But that is dealing only with temptation and not trials of life. Sometimes we get so bombarded with trial after trial on top of trial, and I for one am right now at the point that I don’t think I can handle one more trial. I told a friend last week that maybe I should meltdown on the next person that tells me how strong I am. lol Because seriously, I am NOT as strong as I appear. Not even remotely close.
This isn’t the first time I have felt like I had more than I can handle, but I have to say that this time around it’s like the hits keep coming. Several years ago, I was tdy to Ft Gordon for class, and one day we all went to Myrtle Beach. At some point, I got knocked under by a wave, and when I came up, I got smacked by another before I could catch my breath, and this went on for a couple more waves before I finally got my feet planted which was well after panic set in. That’s kind of how I feel now; like the waves are coming faster than I can get a breath.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV)
Last week I let one of my friends at work know about one of the biggest trials going on because it is/was to have an impact on me being at work. Turns out not a huge impact at this point, but I’m not getting into that yet. Anyway, she asked me a few minutes later, “How can you stand there and smile like everything is ok?” I answered, “I have a lot of friends praying for me.” Well, that and I am pretty good at faking everything being ok when it isn’t.
In the midst of all this, I rely on God to get me though. To carry me when I don’t have the strength to get out of the bed in the morning. To give me the strength of will to hold my tongue rather than lash out in anger with verbal diarrhea. To not be so self-focused as to fail to pray for my friends who are going through their own trials. To remember that God is in control, and the suffering is temporary. To rest in the knowledge that Jesus redeemed me, and gave me the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide me…and to set my feet against the waves so I can breathe.
I guess since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I should write a post about what I am thankful for. I’ve struggled all week to write something, and I don’t know why it never occurred to me to write about Thanksgiving. Well, actually, that isn’t entirely true. It’s hard to be thankful when you are sick and have a pulled muscle and you want to wallow in self-pity.
Lots of folks have been posting as their daily status on Facebook something that they are thankful for. I guess it’s supposed to be done for each day of November. Half the time, I don’t even post a status anymore. But I digress, and am already getting off topic.
This year I am thankful for the trials I have been through for about the past 5 years. One normally isn’t thankful for having their dad die, their mom to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, 2 back-to-back job problems, 2 teenagers with issues (likely stemming from their parent’s issues), and an alcoholic spouse who had to go to rehab. Who in their right mind would be thankful for stuff like that? Let me tell you, each and every one of those situations sucked big time! There have been times that I wanted to just run away, and times (like late last year) that I was so depressed that I wanted to die. (Note: I was not suicidal. There is a BIG difference.) But each of these things in their own unique ways brought about much needed changes in my life.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-3 ESV)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)
Each of the events increasingly broke down my emotional barriers and showed how much of my life I had spent controlling or avoiding situations around me in order to keep the barriers up and to fortify them. Little by little, and painfully the control issues, the emotional stuffing, and what I thought was long buried insecurity all busted out and tore me down to a state much like I was as a pre-teen. Broken and undone. But this time around, I couldn’t just go through the motions and perform like I was so (in my mind anyway) adept at as a kid. Daddy didn’t set his affairs in order before he died because he was a control freak. Yeah, that would be where I get it. Mom started showing signs of Alzheimer’s soon after Daddy’s stroke, but even more so when he died. I still had to work. I couldn’t check out from parenting. And I couldn’t check out from my marriage. I couldn’t just cope with all these issues; I had to actually work through them. Oh, and also during this time, I had a LOT of sin to face and repent of that I had fallen into while wrapped up in my self-righteousness.
In my brokenness, I had only one place to turn, and that was to God. The worse things got, the more I was driven to him, and that is why I am thankful for the trials. I learned after many many years to actually trust God. I learned to open up to close friends about my struggles so they could pray for me and help me through them. So, yeah, I am thankful for the trials that are beginning to get me out of self-reliance and into God-reliance.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)
I know I have certain days set aside for certain topics, but, yeah. That really didn’t work out so well. Really it didn’t work out at all when I wasn’t blogging for the past month. But anyway, I guess it’s time to spill the beans about why I wasn’t blogging at all for a month, and not really so regularly over the past couple years or so.
The day after Labor Day, I drove my husband to a 65-day treatment facility for alcohol and drug abuse. He had started drinking again about 2 years ago, and it steadily progressed to the point where he was drinking heavily 5 or 6 days a week while denying it was heavy drinking and/or that he was really drunk. Also during this 2 year period I nagged him about it, fought with him over it, and threatened divorce. None of my tactics worked on him, and none of his denial and manipulation worked on me. All the while the kids retreated to their rooms attempting to block out the dysfunction around them.
In the meantime, we were all going through the motions, and putting on the masks of pretending nothing was wrong. He was leading a ministry and a small group at church, and I was standing up helping to lead singing every Sunday morning and many Sunday nights. Everything looked “normal” and “good” from the outside. But we were a mess.
I prayed and prayed, and was mostly left with silence and no change. I asked, “How much is enough?” The abbreviated answer was my wedding vow – “Til death.” Yet I still could not stop wanting a divorce, and finally had to share the full answer I got with 4 friends when I asked them to pray and hold me accountable. That’s when the voice telling me to push for divorce ceased. Not because of my prayer, but my friends’ prayers.
Gradually the fighting between us ceased, though each of us continued to hold our ground, and then the secret came out. He got drunk and took a sleeping pill and I couldn’t get him all the way awake so that he could make it to the Bible study he was leading. There I was left with spilling the beans to 2 couples why he wasn’t there, and what had been going on. I narc’ed him out, and it sucked. But, it didn’t suck near as bad as covering up the problem. He was confronted, held accountable, and rightly disciplined by being removed from leadership and teaching positions.
Still, he dug in, and finally decided he was going to confront back and argue his case. This put me in a very difficult spot as I neither agreed with nor supported his position, and prepared for opposing him publicly. But when we went to this meeting he called, instead of defending himself and fighting his position, he confessed everything and announced that he was going to rehab because he was not in control of his drinking. It was in control of him. We found a place, got him all set, and off he went. He only did about a month of the 65 days, but he came home a different man than I dropped off.
There will be more follow up to this, but in the meantime, here is the testimony the hubby gave at church this past Sunday. The audio is bad because he spoke without a mic and I recorded it with my iPhone, but I’m sharing it anyway.
And if you drop something on a Facebook wall, you might as well turn it into a blog post…especially when prodded. Seriously though, I would have let the whole thing go with just some eye rolls and head shaking, but further commenting just raked me the wrong way, and I was in the mood to fight anyway.
It all started when I got a message from Petra who read God Doesn’t Want You to Read Fifty Shades of Grey, and came across a sentence that reminded her of me, and made her laugh a lot. For the record, I don’t seek out pictures of cute kittens; they are sent to me. lol Anyway, I went ahead and read the post and dropped the link in the Google chat I was having with Molly. I think we discussed what little we knew about the book and I think I told her why I was going to let it pass on by. I’ve slept since then. Anyway, Molly posted a status on FB about wanting something to read. Out of the first 5 suggestions, I was the only one who did NOT recommend Fifty Shades of Grey. I had just started reading Eat to Live (which my doctor “prescribed” like 3 or 4 years ago), so I recommended it. You know, that’s how I roll. LOL I then proceeded to ignore the additional Fifty Shades of Grey recommendations, and then Petra commented…and a couple chicks got defensive…and I got irked, and dropped this comment:
People who read those books are typically less (or un-) satisfied with their sex lives, and looking for an instant thrill. I got introduced to the “smut novel” in my teens, and that just opened the door to a dysfunctional sex life when I got married. As someone who knows the consequences of porn addiction (both from “erotic fiction” and video porn) personally, I can assure you that porn does NOT improve a sexual relationship. Only when porn was completely out of our household (and my husband gave it up long before I did), did we start communicating to and with one another whereby we finally achieved the level of intimacy in our marriage that so that our sex life reached a mutually (very) fulfilling level. Porn is porn whether literary or video, and does not depict real life. Sexual addiction is every bit as enslaving as drugs, alcohol, food, and cigarettes. Reading erotic fiction and calling yourself “open minded” is just fooling yourself. It’s being single-mindedly focused on physical pleasure which ultimately does not satisfy.
So there went my skeletons – run-on sentences, extra words, questionable grammar, and all. And here they are for you my 10 regular readers, though I guess it would be 8 since Petra and Molly already know. haha. And yes, I generalized without evidence. Isn’t that what a flame war is all about?
I figured if I was going to put this out there, I should expound more on what I flushed out thinking on how feeding off the smut novels had such a negative impact. I developed expectations based on those novels. Expectations of every aspect of a relationship, too, and not just sexual. Naturally, when those expectations didn’t come to fruition, discontentment set in. But, of course the expectations weren’t going to be met because they were all based on fiction – from someone else’s imagination, and not even my own.
So, yeah, I won’t be reading Fifty Shades of Grey which is apparently the new Twilight only “heavy on sex” and without the vampires. And while I’m at it, I might as well throw out my opinion of the grown women who went/go nuts over Twilight. Women, when you are in your 30′s, but more especially in your 40′s and 50′s, and you are swooning over a fictional character, you look and sound immature and ridiculous. Just sayin’. Seriously,Cedric Diggory? Yes, I concluded that getting senselessly killed by Lord Voldemort turns you into a sparkly vampire.
*The post title is a partial quote from Practical Magic. The full quote is “And this is what comes from dabbling; I mean you can’t practice witchcraft while you look down your nose at it.”
This post is brought to you today because of a Facebook message thread (note: not a public thread) where there was a discussion of someone’s house not being “company ready.” I said “Whatever” followed by “Did I ever tell you about the first 2 visits we got from NLPC?” NLPC = New Life Praise Church = where we go. Anyway, she said, “no, you’ll have to give me those stories! ha!” Now with this in mind, there was some discussion a few days prior about “being real” and “masks” and, well, this is kind of me putting my “ugly” out there.
So this was made Christmas ’07. I think. It’s main purpose is to show the old sectional…for scale. Note that right there in the middle of the floor is a big mess. I decorated for Christmas, but never bothered to put the containers away turning them into a “catch-all” spot. Also notice the dog. That’s Buster as a puppy. His middle name is Deuce because he was always dropping one behind furniture. He is also a big outside dog now. Anyway, a couple of weeks after that Christmas we started attending NLPC.
I’m not sure how long we had been going before we got the visit. One Tuesday night, the dogs started barking, and we heard car doors (plural) outside. One of the Tuesday night visitation teams made a trip to visit us. I know it was Charlie and Sylvia, but I can’t remember who (if anyone) was with them. What I do remember is the sectional was so covered with stuff (laundry, junk, whatever) that you couldn’t sit on it. Oh, and the Christmas stuff was still sitting there in the middle of the room. I was mortified. I am sure everything in the kitchen was dirty and covering all the counters, and, well, my house was a pig stye. And I swore that it would not ever get that bad again just in case we ever got another unannounced visit.
So a few weeks later, dogs bark, car doors slam, and we have visitors again. This time it was Gerald & Bonnie, and Sylvia. Yes, same Sylvia, and guess what? The house was in just as bad a shape as it was before, except that I had put away the Christmas decorations by that time. That was it. They had seen the real us. I don’t think anyone from church has ever been by that the house wasn’t a wreck. It’s not that we don’t both want a clean house, nor do we not know how to keep a clean house. It’s just overwhelming, and it’s easier to let it go.
As an aside, we no longer have the sectional, and we no longer pile laundry up in the living room. We keep those piles in our bedrooms now. LOL
Why? Because it is a post, and this list totally dates me. Yes, I sing many of these at my daughter when she runs with me.
Freak Like Me – Sugababes
Round Round – Sugababes
Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & the Waves
Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Back In Black – AC/DC
You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
The Power Of Love – Huey Lewis & The News
Song 2 – Blur
Layla – Derek & The Dominos
China Grove – The Doobie Brothers
Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers
Listen To The Music – The Doobie Brothers
Humans Being – Van Halen (Van Hagar)
Love Is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar
Invincible – Pat Benatar
Authority Song – John Mellencamp
Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen
Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
The Boys of Summer – Don Henley
Mr. Roboto – Styx
Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters
Love Shack – The B-52′s
Long Distance Winner – Stevie Nicks
Gold – Stevie Nicks
Light of day – Joan Jett
Go Insane – Lindsey Buckingham
Refugee – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
1999 – Prince